While you won’t find greasy-haired potions masters or famed boy wizards at this creative drinking experience, you will have a lot of fun if you’re keen on the occult. The Wizard’s Den invites you to escape to a world of magic and potion-making (read: cocktail mixing, or mocktail mixing, if so desired).
The Time Out team was invited to get its wands at the ready and learn the ropes (robes?) at this boozy encounter. First things first, the event name is a ruse* – you won’t find any tall bearded gents of Gandalf’s ilk. Wizards are not the ringleaders here, but a fierce witch by the name of Morticia Le Mort, who nec-romances you with her potions assistant.
With the high-energy acting antics of the cast and the clever set-up of the venue combined, this experience is a whole lot of fun for those willing to play along. You’ll be tasked with a series of escape room-like clues and riddles to work out. Solve them to uncover magical wands for your team, potion bottles and ingredients required to mix up cocktails in your cauldron.
The atmosphere and staging of the venue are a great mix of spooky, playful and immersive – with floating candles, shelves stacked with trinkets, crystal balls, pentagrams, witchy paraphernalia, and even a secret entrance to a witch’s garden (which is sure to please those of us who went green and succumbed to plant fanaticism in lockdown).
If you have already attended Semester I or Semester II of this bewitching experience, be prepared to have the ante upped at Semester III with new challenges and rewards, as you must attempt to revolt and overthrow the devilish mistress Le Mort, whose immense fear of death has become her downfall. However, no prior study in ancient potions is required.
During the two-hour dose of escapism you might ‘levitate’ a book off a shelf, brew up potions for good and evil, and be classed in the magical arts. The tasks and riddles are not so challenging that someone starting to get a bit tiddly can't give them a go (but there is help at hand if necessary), and the mixologist-designed cocktail flavours are fruity and intriguing without veering into sickly sweet territory.
Your golden ticket will set you back $40 (plus booking fee), which includes a drink on arrival, two cocktails, and wand rental – which is quite the value-for-money experience when you consider how much the average cocktail can set you back in Sydney.
This potions class takes place upstairs from the Lewis Carroll-inspired Wonderland Bar in Potts Point (the former residence of World Bar, may it rest in peace with the ghosts of the grungy Kings Cross of yore).
Wizards, witches and magical folk in attendance are encouraged to BYO robes (in Semester I, these garments were supplied, but not even the strongest banishing spell can overrule the public health and safety measures required in post-lockdown Sydney).
This strictly 18+ potions class is in session until the end of September, with multiple evening sessions Thursday through Sunday starting from 5.30pm and running until late, as well as weekend afternoon events from 3pm. For junior conjurers, there are some family friendly sessions available. Check out sessions and availability here.
* For anyone concerned their ticket purchase might line the pockets of a certain controversial author of a book and movie franchise set in a magical school, this event has no association with said author.